In a nutshell, the Insomniac’s Marvel Spiderman is a game that manages to make you feel like a true superhero with immense responsibilities while creating a compelling story that the players will remember for a long time. Insomniac games are especially popular because of their take on the story of the games, no matter how serious the game looks and plays they add something hilarious in the scenes that gives a new potential to the overall look of the scene while maintaining its integrity. So, one can expect of all things that define the quality of a video game especially a superhero video game the story aspect is in the safe hands. The Spiderman experience will take you on a rollercoaster ride with slight dips due to mundane and sometimes repetitive side quests, which are easily forgivable since the story and achievements are compelling enough to make you grind through it.
The most important aspect of the game for me is the fact that it is not an origin story of the Spiderman. Many of us know and have played the origin story of Spiderman. Instead, you get an adult Spiderman who knows what his capabilities are and tries to balance his life as Peter Parker and Spiderman. It creates a special duality in the story that is there will be sequences where you will be swinging around the city as Spiderman while at times you will be a date with your girlfriend Mary Jane as Peter. It is usually considered that duality in the story makes it less effective, but it is not the case with this game, the dual characteristics add to the story. Additionally, there will be instances where you will be in the shoes of Mary Jane with stealth sequences.
Story (no spoilers)
It’s obvious to point out many instances where it seems like the idea has appeared in other parts Marvel’s portfolio due to a number of video game adaptations, which can be the only downside of the story. We know how the Superhero stories go about, it is what the presentation of the story matters the most, with the ability to wrap most important instances as detailed as possible and Insomniac’s Spiderman did both of these pretty well. The decade-long history of Marvel’s Universe has affected the game and made the diverse distances of Manhattan, photorealistic with shiny and saturated colors, and stirring music overhauls on top of the satisfying combat adds to the overall beauty of the story.
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The clearest impact of Marvel’s history is the main story of the game, where the game focuses as much on the normal human Peter Parker as it gives on the mature Spidey Parker. Peter is now an experienced Spiderman who has developed a dork, humorous and confident personality that is completely different from his shy and introvertly humane personality. The intermingling of both personalities of Peters makes a story that will be equally important to the player as a normal being and as a superhero. Insomniac has spent more than enough time to develop the characters and their stories both inside and outside the game, which adds to the latter narrative in the development of more effective impacts. The side characters such as Mary Jane, Aunt May and Lucy have their own story which is usually told during the cutscenes or randomly in the game.
You may get to know (Usually the not so important information, as the important information will usually be is the cutscenes) about these characters when you are swinging on the roads randomly. Aunt May now works at a shelter which is run by an entrepreneur Martin Li, who has a selfless heart. Mary Jane now works at the Daily Bugle, and you will be mostly getting back to her as she has a separate story to tell which is linked to the whole scenario. They have not only developed the stories of the supporting characters but also the villains. You get to know about your main antagonists before the actual fights, during the early hour of the game, it will give you information about kingpin and his evil deeds as you will most probably be fighting him in the next few missions.
Your main antagonist in the game is Martin li, and the fact that Aunt May works in one of his shelters will definitely affect how to approach different segments of the game. The Marvel’s Spiderman gives you a free open world to explore, with a slight twist. You would have to unlock (not literally unlock, you can go there whenever you want) the map first if you want to be able to see different activities scattered throughout the area. There are different side quests such as finding your bags which will help you craft stuff, finding locations, observing spaces, finding audio logs and listening to Peter’s monologue from time to time. The game essentially is full of activities which will reward you in one way or other, other than these there are challenge quests with best rewards possible.
Narrative build up
The narrative build-up has huge impacts in the latter part of the game where you would have to be at different locations at the same time with all having dire effects, even if you what’s coming to the results at times will be shocking. The game is very good to increment the stakes, making evil genuinely villainous in a matter of two to three missions, with the consequences so dire that you would want to skip the part and focus on swinging across the city (yeah kidding there). The story is emotionally charged, and intriguing enough to make you play the game on a daily basis.
The trivial side quests are always a part of a huge story, from stopping the random crimes in the street, to greet people took selfies, its all part of the game and improved to make the game dynamic and self-learning. There are hunting quests in which you would explore certain areas of the map to find a certain item to complete the crafting requirements of one of your suites or a weapon ability. Its all connected but it seems repetitive at times. There are certain times in the game where there will be no story mission, and you will mostly be backing up computer data, reliving City’s pipeline or catching pigeons, which will make the experience a bit bewildering but satisfying.
The main reason other than no story mission to play at a time is the rewards that you will get by completing these activities. Each type of submission has its unique reward from XPs to specific tokens which are used to get different suits, gadgets, and upgrades. Then there are the “Challenge missions,” they ask you to push your limits by adding time constraint or increasing the level of difficulty, but the rewards are surprisingly high and motivating, they even grant special rewards often. Despite obvious flaws in the side activities, it is always refreshing to seek out and complete some of these ridiculous (sometimes hilarious) activities. Moreover, the sensational web swinging capabilities of the Spiderman are the most satisfactory experience, even after you have beaten the game. There is not enough reason why should you dodge the very essence of the Spiderman game.
Talking about the web swinging mechanics, the web requires a solid object to get attached to; there will be no swinging from the air. Swinging around the New York city in an endless terrain of swinging webs is made flawless and easy to adapt since there is no input lag. You can adapt to the process during the early hour of the game and it progress as you go deeper into the story swinging becomes the main gameplay of the game. If you are like me who likes to travel into the world swinging around the street will take most of the time that you would devote to the game. During a big swing, you can also hold onto the web for a little longer to give you an extra boost at the end of your jump.
Then, in midair during a somersault, you quickly scan the environment to see if there’s a potential vantage point where you can fire a web and then time your jump to get an additional speed boost. The animations and visual effects are so fluid that the speed and guiding yourself through the air does not feel like a 30FPS experience (on standard PS4). Spidey transitions into different moves seamlessly in most cases, with the addition of slow-mo. Mechanic the ability to zip through a vertex point becomes easy to handle and satisfying at the same time. Then, there are swinging specific missions to make you feel like a true Spiderman in your core like there is a mission in which you must take a picture of an NYC who is doing something strange in the midair while performing a backflip. So, the game has a true feeling of a Spiderman game.
Coming to the combat mechanics of the game, many fans were considering that the combat will at least be on par with the Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series (Arkham city is the exception as no game can match the combat mechanics of the Arkham city). The combat of the game no doubt is inspired by the Arkham games, the crowd filled fights with Spidey’s acrobatics and abilities to use the environment to his advantage. You can use simple punching combos, use webs to your advantage, throw trash cans lying on the ground to knock down enemies quickly. Like Batman Arkham the combat heavily lies on the hit streak, the bigger the streak, the bigger the effect of the damage will be on the enemies. Additionally, if your “Spidey sense bar” is full you can tap the down button from the D-pad to get an instant boost to your health.
There are many other perks of the ‘sense bar,’ with a full bar you can perform a super attack to finish your enemy in a single blow (only the minor enemies would be knocked down in a single blow, the boss fights have different set pieces). On the other hand, the Spidey is vulnerable to the enemy attacks; it usually takes two or three hits for Spidey to lose all its health. So, during a crowded fight, your suit and abilities will have a huge effect on your game. You would have to hit as many enemies as you can while at the same time dodging their attacks, this hack and slash combat can become tiresome at times, but it never fails to satisfy the needs of the player who has the responsibility to save the day. The combat specific will encourage you to change your technique to complete the task.
To change the monotonous regime of the combat, there are beautifully crafted boss fights. The boss fights are enough to make you grind through the repetitive but satisfying combat system. These fights are intensely chaotic with unique takedowns and abilities to perform that are made to take down the boss. The fights seem difficult, but the solution to beating the immensely overpowered enemies does not require much time. You will find the pattern of attacks in only a few turns; then it’s a game of dodging the attacks and attacking at the right time. At times, the game decides to dodge you too, and the enemies will behave exactly opposite to what you would expect them to behave. So, watch out for that. Other than that, the boss battles are exactly like the boss battles in any other game. However, being a marvel game, you will find many references to the other Marvel products during the fights.
All in all, the game is not going to change your view on Spiderman as a Superhero; if you love him, you are definitely going to love the game. If you don’t like Spiderman games in general, this game is not going to change your view either. So, if you are up for a fantastic story that gives credit to the normal side of the superheroes and will you feel like one, then there is no reason why you should not play the game. Lastly, insomniac is not adding any type of microtransactions in the game, so you will be getting a full experience from the time you buy the game. Lastly, a DLC is also coming in a few weeks.